Knoc-turn’al Interview (by A to the L)
Knoc-turn’al appeared on Dr Dre’s “Chronic 2001” – a massive comeback album full of headnodders. Most heads however won’t have really taken notice until ‘Bad Intentions’ dropped. Over an incredibly sick flute loop, Knoc and the good doctor break down a million and one reasons why your woman wants to pick them over you. Now its time for this laconic Long Beach resident to go for his, with the release of “Knoc’s Landing” on Elektra. When I spoke to Knoc he’d already completed several press interviews, and although polite at all times, it was difficult to tell if he was bored with the whole thing, tired, or a mixture of both. He remained very laidback throughout, almost distant… only really becoming animated at all when I asked him about Kurupt. This is how it went down…
A lot of people won’t have heard of you until “Chronic 2001”, what were you doing before then?
Knoc: I was on vacation. In jail.
How did you hook up with Dre?
Knoc: I met Dre through my boss – the cat I’m signed with now. His name is Big D, and he’s the owner of LA Confidential. The same day I met Big D, he took me to meet Dre. And the very same day I met Dre, he told me I was dope, and put me in the studio, and we started recording “Bang Bang” for his album. That all happened in one day.
How did it feel to work with the big names like Dre, Snoop and Eminem on “Chronic 2001”?
Knoc: It was a big honour – I got to see how the professionals do it, got to be almost like a fly on the wall, and just watch while they made this classic album : seeing how Dre mixed things up, how he took everyone’s different styles and made them all work together : it was a real learning experience
Lets talk a little about “Knoc’s Landing” – when does it come out?
Knoc: April 23rd.
And obviously you’ll have production from Dre on there, but who else is on the boards?
Knoc: I got some Mel-man tracks on there : Timbaland’s produced a joint on there called ‘Have Fun’ which is gonna be my second single : Damian Young : Fred Wreck : Warren G’s on the album : Too Short’s on the album :
Damn, you pulled out the big guns for this joint!
Knoc: Most definitely : I think it turned out great. Its gonna be a great album.
And you’ve got Missy appearing on “The Knoc”… who else is gonna be featured on there?
Knoc: Timbaland’s gonna be on there, on the mic and on production : Warren G and Too Short’s both on there : Timebomb (who dropped a verse on ‘LA Niggaz’ off “Chronic 2001”) is on there :
‘The Knoc’ is already getting major play on the radio and in the clubs… is the rest of the album on this kind of vibe?
Knoc: Yeah, its mainly on that vibe. It has a real party feel to it – just something to have fun and party to.
Are you gonna be touring at all to promote this album?
Knoc: For sure : I just don’t know where yet!
You think it’ll be a Knoc solo tour, or as support for Dre and Snoop?
Knoc: I’ll probably wind up doing both – I’ma do a tour on my own, I’ma do a tour with some of Dre’s artists, and I’ma do a tour with some of Elektra’s artists.
For a while after Dre released the original “Chronic” in 1992, it seemed that everyone had to have a G-Funk cut on their album, and the whole thing kinda went stale. But in the last couple of years G-Funk has made a big comeback – what do you think are the main reasons for this?
Knoc: The main reason is simple – Dr Dre came back with another album. If Dre hadn’t came back, and came back the way he did, nobody woulda been listening to it. Every time Dr Dre comes out with an album, everybody just rides the waves he throws up : but then Dre doesn’t have what I would call a G-Funk sound. There’s no other description of it than to call it a “Dre sound” – its harder than G-Funk. G-Funk is Warren G : Dre’s sound is a more aggressive sound : less laidback.
I’ve heard a few rumours that Rakim’s album on Aftermath is nearing completion – have you been involved with that at all, or have you heard any cuts from it?
Knoc: Rakim and I are working together right now for the album. Its turning out great – I was actually surprised at first when he told me he wanted to work with me on the album, but we’re working together and everything’s cool.
And what’s it sound like? Is it Rakim on West Coast beats? Rakim staying with his New York roots? Or a mix of both?
Knoc: Its Rakim. That’s all I’m saying!
Do you have any opinion on the recent situation that’s come up with Kurupt going back to Death Row Records?
Knoc: I don’t even care about what Kurupt do. I don’t have nothing to do with the Dogg Pound – I ain’t from the Dogg Pound. I’m signed to LA Confidential and Elektra distribution. I don’t care about Kurupt’s career. I don’t care about Suge’s career. Whatever they wanna do, let them do it.
You make no secret of the fact that you’ve been to prison in the past. Does that make you a little more conscious sometimes of what you’re saying in your songs… and try to make sure that your lyrics are putting across a more positive message?
Knoc: Of course. Sometimes I feel like artists need to put across a better way of living, instead of just telling everyone to go out and just shoot a person, kill a person : that ain’t my thing at all. I’m just trying to party : have fun : smoke weed : drink : have fun, and have a nice time.
You were part of a successful record with the “Chronic 2001”. The ‘Bad Intentions’ joint blew up everywhere… you ever pinch yourself just to make sure you’re not dreaming?
Knoc: I don’t know : I mean – I’m glad it happened. But then, I put in too much work for it to be a dream : if it was a dream, I think I would have woken up by now.
What motivates you to continue making good music?
Knoc: The fact that I’m still not totally satisfied with the music I’m making : I feel there’s more to come from inside me – I’m never totally satisfied with what I do. I don’t think you ever can be. I feel that you should always aim to get better and better each time. If I ever thought that I’d reached a point where I was a hundred percent satisfied with what I’ve done, then maybe its time to stop making music.
Last thing – break it down for everyone – why should we pick up “Knoc’s Landing”?
Knoc: Because it’s the first time somebody came through on the west coast since Snoop Dogg’s album, that really had a genuine and original style of music.
Thanks again to Knoc-turn’al for taking part, and for Duane at Fan2Fan for setting this up.